The beef farmers of the New England region have convinced their Greens candidate, Mercurius Goldstein, that rather than expanding live exports, that cattle should be shipped to the Inverell and Gunnedah area for processing before export. They suggest that should this happen then the local beef and beef processing industry would get a much needed boost to which Goldstein says would “get Coonabarabran back on its feet’. Goldstein pointed out that cows processed in Australia are worth 20% more to the Australian economy, and that not only did beef producers and processors benefit, truck drivers were also in favour of retaining processing within Australia.
This sentiment is in direct contract to the National Party leader and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce’s assertion that he will do everything within his power to move more processing offshore. Joyce’s bizarre suggestion that the Indonesian government punished the Australian government for halting live exports after animal cruelty had been reported has been the talking point of the cities, but farmers have not been distracted from what they see is the bigger picture, the loss of local beef farming and abattoir jobs.